Friday, November 19, 2010

3rd Wing Commander Col. Jack McMullen Confirms That Capt. Jeffrey Haney Did Not Survive The Alaska F-22 Crash, And Did Not Eject

Update December 14th 2011: A U.S. Air Force Accident Investigation Board (AIB) report is blaming the crash on Capt. Haney, despite a malfunction of the jet's bleed air intakes, which caused an automatic shutdown of multiple aircraft systems including the primary oxygen system. But although the bleed air malfunction led to the crash by shutting down the oxygen system, Haney did not react quickly enough to activate the jet's emergency oxygen system or recover from a dive he inadvertently entered into as he struggled to regain his air supply.

We hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst. And on November 19th, 2010, the worst happened. 3rd Wing Commander Col. Jack McMullen announced that evidence from the scene of the F-22 crash indicates that Capt Jeffrey Haney did not eject from the aircraft, and did not survive the crash.

-- High resolution USAF photo of the crash scene available HERE.
-- KTUU Channel 2 gallery of nine photos HERE.
-- All previous posts on this mishap available HERE, with the most recent post first.

In his official statement, Col. McMullen said that based on evidence recovered from the crash site, and after two days of extensive aerial and ground search efforts, it's been determined that Captain Haney did not eject from the aircraft prior to impact. Evidence at the scene of the crash, including pieces of Capt. Haney's flight suit and other personal effects, led investigators to that conclusion. Part of the aircraft's ejection seat were also found at the scene. "Sadly, we can no longer consider this a search and rescue operation, but must now focus on recovery operations," Colonel McMullen said.

"We are all extremely saddened by the loss of this great American, Airman and friend," the colonel continued. "Captain Haney will be missed by the entire 3rd Wing and the JBER community". At least 130 people are in the area now to begin the recovery operations that are expected to last several weeks. The Air Force is convening a safety investigation board to determine the cause of the mishap. All three members of Alaska's Congressional delegation have expressed their condolences.

Col. McMullen also provided an updated description of the crash site. “It’s in a valley, between a ridge and -- it’s basically a 18 to 20-foot round hole, and it’s got water freeze-over,” McMullen said. “There are some parts of the airplane outside that, but the majority of the airplane is going beneath the earth so it’s going to require some effort to get the airplane out.”

Capt. Haney, from Clarklake, MI, was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in August 2003 and has been assigned to the 3rd Wing's 525 Fighter Squadron since June 2006. He was described as one of the Air Force's best pilots, and was actively considered for flight instructor duty. A recent article in the Jackson (MI) Citizen-Patriot article provides a biographical sketch of his life. Capt. Haney leaves behind a wife and two daughters. A memorial service will be held in Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's Hangar One at 3:25 P.M. on Monday afternoon, November 22nd. However, Haney's family has requested the service only be open to personnel and select friends.

The Sourdough Sentinel notes that the Air Warrior Courage Foundation has set up an education fund for Captain Haney's children. In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations to Captain Haney's daughters' college fund may be made at specifying "For the Jeffrey Haney children". Or, donations can be made by check made out to AWCF, and mailed to AWCF, PO Box 877, Silver Spring, MD 20918-0877. The "for" line on the check should designate "For the Jeffrey Haney children.

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